June 24, 2020
After overcoming multiple myeloma, patient care technician knows the power of words
BY KirstiAnn Clifford
Patient Care Technician Raymond Alex Jr., is known in MD Anderson’s Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and around the hospital for sharing inspirational messages with our cancer patients and staff. For the past 13 years, his passion for words has helped him connect with patients and promote healing.
“An encouraging word means a lot,” says Alex. “Being able to provide a little bit of inspiration and put a smile on a patient’s face is what I love to do and has kept me at MD Anderson for all these years.”
In 2008, Alex was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and received treatment at MD Anderson. That opened his eyes to the patient experience and the importance of an encouraging word.
“During my treatment, I had words that I lived by,” he shares.
A few of his favorites were: My condition is not my conclusion and I am bigger than my circumstances. One of his favorite quotes that he still shares with patients is, “Why back down when God is backing you up?”
A knack for bringing people together
As a child in Louisiana, Alex and his family were very active in their local church. He’s appreciative of his parents, who were involved with ministry work. They taught him the importance of community and the power of words, which can bring people together from all different walks of life.
“It really laid the foundation for my future and my passion for helping others,” he says.
Alex moved to Houston over a decade ago and immediately fell in love with the diversity of the city. He continued his ministry work by preaching to men and women in prison while serving as a patient transporter at MD Anderson. He eventually transitioned to his current role as a patient care technician. He works closely with the nursing team in the PACU to help patients with daily activities, such as mobility, as well as taking vitals, and removing IVs and catheters.
“We have a busy department and I get to meet new faces every day,” he says. “I enjoy conversing with people from all over the world and supporting their recovery. No matter where a patient is from, I want them to remember MD Anderson as a place where they were treated like family.”
A self-proclaimed exercise and fashion fanatic, Alex also takes pride in cheering up patients and visitors through his carefully selected work attire, which often includes brightly colored accessories to complement his scrubs – he even irons a crease in his pants.
Alex applies that attention to detail to everything he does and is always looking for ways to continue growing professionally and spiritually. He met his wife, who is a minister, while attending church in Houston. With her support, he is now pursuing a master’s degree in theology and has a goal to go into global ministry.
Providing a sense of connection during the COVID-19 pandemic
While MD Anderson’s visitor policy has been restricted during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Alex has stepped in to provide a sense of connection and hope for our cancer patients. Recently, Alex wheeled a patient to the valet area. She asked Alex to join her in prayer. He and a nearby valet driver paused with the patient to pray.
Alex knew how important it was to choose the right words in that moment.
“It was a moment of healing – the kind of moment when you know you’re making an impact,” he reflects. “I love what I do – being able to make a difference in the lives of patients at MD Anderson and help people in the local community and beyond is exactly what I’m meant to do.”
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TopicsCOVID-19 Multiple Myeloma
An encouraging word means a lot.
Raymond Alex Jr.
Patient Care Technician